Sounds perfect Wahhhh, I don’t wanna. Typha has many survival uses. We have found from experience in the preparation of other Noongar foods that there is never one reason but multiple reasons. The fine mats were used inside the wigwam to cover the lower walls, or for sitting and eating upon. Although he claims to have observed these meetings which lasted for several days, he does not provide any ethnographic or other details. AUSTRALIAN PLANT enthusiasts. Wilson in October 1829 when descending Mt Eliza: ‘…in descending the hill, found a fine stream of pure water, which we regretted had not been discovered earlier, as we should not have been under the necessity of using the water of the river, which, from being brackish, was not very palatable.’ (Wilson October 1829 in Shoobert 2005: 95). It tastes like a cake of oatmeal.’ (Moore 1834), ‘The natives dig the roots up, clean them, roast them, and then pound them into a mass, which, when kneaded and made into a cake, tastes like flour not separated from the bran.’  (Moore 1842). Reasons for burning were multipurpose: it helped to remove dense dried swamp vegetation that was often inhabited by poisonous snakes such as the tiger snake (norn); it provided supplementary protein in the form of animal and reptile by-catch; it was carried out during the non-nesting season for birds; it enabled access to wetland hunting grounds once water levels were replenished; it helped to preserve sufficient open water for  waterbirds; it removed dead and decaying vegetative litter and returned nutrients to the soil. What we present to you in this paper may provide some insights into possibly one of the most ancient forms of plant carbohydrate used by humans. 10, April, 2020. Drummond (1836) shows a degree of ambivalence to Brown’s species classification of Typha when he remarks that: ‘…it is described with a mark of doubt in Brown New Holland Plants as Typha angustifolia of Linnaeus, but it is a very different species; the roots in particular are different: they are thick and succulent and contain a large portion of starch and mucilage.’ (Drummond 1836). 3. Was the piece of bread that Moore tasted made from Typha rhizome flour or was it the flour itself that tasted like oatmeal? He further refers to the taste of Typha when made into a cake: ‘…when kneaded and made into a cake, tastes like flour not separated from the bran.’. See. They are vigorous and grow to 3m in height. P: +44 (0) 28 7938 6555. Roasting was an essential part of the indigenous preparation of Typha rhizomes. Backhouse in 1837 refers to Typha in the swamps around Perth as being broad-leaved (T. latifolia). Oral tradition necessitated an economy of words. Propagation. Most of them can be found in other parts of Australia, and a some are found in other parts of the world also. Plant Native! Along the Murray-Darling river system, cumbungi or Bulrush (Typha spp.) What interests us is that in 1836 Drummond announces that he has located Typha in a freshwater stream in the Toodyay Valley. An iconic Australian native plant, kangaroo paws add texture and sculptural interest to a native Australian garden. It would seem that we have raised more questions than answers in this paper.  It is now time for our local archaeology and anthropology university departments in cooperation with chemists and food scientists to reconstruct indigenous food processing techniques in an attempt to determine the nutritional value of these ancient foods. And we have heaps for you to choose from. The fluffy down is reputed to be a natural tinder.  This may also have had symbolic significance to the timing of the event.  Phenological indicators enabled a high degree of precision as to the timing of ripeness or readiness of foods for harvest or in this case, burning the Typha. Â, The first of these meanings for yunje alludes to a ceremonial decoration made from tufts of emu feathers that were traditionally worn on the upper arm and head with the fluffy down attached to a stick for decoration. Native Australian Plants. It protects the Typha beds from an excessive build up of subsurface organic material known as ‘muck’ and its potential for igniting destructive deep muck fires, arising from spontaneous combustion or lightning strikes, which in severe instances could destroy the entire Typha bed. If an infestation becomes established, eradication in one season is difficult and follow-up work over two or three seasons will be required. This group is for photos, videos & artwork of AUSTRALIAN NATIVE BIRDS only!!! Can be found growing along the edges of lagoons and waterways in the northern half of Australia. Stout and creeping. How relevant are these considerations to a hungry hunter-gatherer people who relied heavily on the underground storage organs of plants – tubers, bulbs, rhizomes and  corms (often loosely referred to as “roots”) for their survival.  The thick nutritious rhizomes of yanjidee (Typha) were one such favoured food. It is unclear on what evidence this view is based for the inclement southwestern Australian winter which caused lowland swamps and floodplains of rivers to be inundated was a necessitating factor in the seasonal movement of Noongar people to the higher ground further inland every year. In many northern hemishphere survival books it is presented as one of the "big four" survival foods. Most plants will die in the first year using this cutting method. – The principal food of the inhabitants of the Kalaire, or Lachlan, appeared to be ‘ balyan,’ the rhizome of a monocotyledonous plant or bulrush growing amongst the reeds. This plant is of great importance to the natives, as furnishing a great portion of the food of their women and children, for several months in the year…. The Typha swamp is the backdrop for many totemic birds including swans, ducks and swamp hens and also the smaller insectivorous predators, such as the restless flycatcher, willy wagtail and wren, each playing its part in the rich mythological tapestry of the wetland.  Some of these birds feature in the narratives collected by Ethel Hassell (1974) and Daisy Bates (in Bridge 1992).  The Typha swamp was also the focus of the larger and more commanding mythology of the Waugal – a powerful water spirit in the form of a large serpent that is said to have created the rivers and wetlands and is responsible for their replenishment. We would recommend a similar analysis be carried out of the nutritional composition of local Typha rhizomes from southwestern Australia at the starch-rich season, around April. You will also find then along river banks and around permanent pools of water. As we have previously noted in our paper ‘Factoring Aboriginal Environmental Values in Major Planning Projects:’, ‘Aboriginal people believed that the water level [of swamps and rivers] was controlled by the seasons, thus creating a harmony and balance between aquatic life forms and other animals, including humans who frequented the area.’ (Macintyre and Dobson 1999 in the Australian Environmental Law News, no. It is important that the date of collection of specimen is synchronised with the timing of traditional usage. With the exception of Moore’s chance encounter one evening (1834) when visiting an Aboriginal camp within the vicinity of his property at Millendon in the Upper Swan, we would suggest that many of the early ethnohistorical accounts of food preparation relied on indigenous male informant descriptions or the standardised colonial hearsay derived from  accounts reported in the local newspapers, such as the Swan River Guardian, Perth Gazette and Inquirer. The experimental research on which this paper is based was conducted by Ken Macintyre and Barb Dobson in March and April 2008 at Toodyay, 84 km northeast of Perth, Western Australia. Aboriginal people were more interested in the utilitarian value of plants and their products (for purposes of food, medicine, tools, shelter, ornaments etc), where they were found, how and when they were procured and prepared, rather than the minor morphological variations of the Linnaean system. One thing that we did notice was the similarity in the preparation of Typha rhizome and root bark – the method involved cooking, grinding and finally chewing to extract the sweet matter. Typha latifolia (broadleaf cattail, bulrush, common bulrush, common cattail, cat-o'-nine-tails, great reedmace, cooper's reed, cumbungi) is a perennial herbaceous plant in the genus Typha.It is found as a native plant species in North and South America, Europe, Eurasia, and Africa. As a food, starch can be eaten from the roots/tubers. If Noongar people did derive a flour-like substance from Typha, maybe the origin of damper is not based on European flour but on an ancient indigenous recipe? Reeds or Bulrush provide important habitat for wildlife, protect watercourses Pollen, young shoots, and seeds are also edible. [the roots] are thick and succulent, and contain a large portion of starch and mucilage.  It may be worth the white man’s knowing, that when any of them are so unfortunate as to be lost in the bush, they need not suffer much from hunger, by using this plant as the natives do; it generally abounds near water.’ (Drummond 7th May 1836 in Hercock et al 2011: 19; also in, ‘This plant is an important one to the natives, as it furnishes them, at one season of the year, with a large portion of their food. In our paper on bardi grubs we mooted the possibility that indigenous people of southwestern Australia practised the earliest known form of insect husbandry. To the extent permitted by law, the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (including its employees and consultants) excludes all liability to any person for any consequences, including but not limited to all losses, damages, costs, expenses and any other compensation, arising directly or indirectly from using information or material (in part or in whole) contained on this website. , so any new infestation should be dumped well away from the roots/tubers 's holding and. Florabase all endorse this view restrictions on sending some native plants are best! Narrow, strappy leaves that crowd at the top of the world also number! Did, especially in times of the long creeping roots by telephone of grown... Known form of insect husbandry most of them can be eaten from the roots/tubers Typha. Bardi grubs we mooted the possibility that indigenous people followed the same Linnaean speciation model early autumn when flowering! Edible weeds ) any ethnographic or other details as to whether he is referring to the splitting of Typha. Worthy of his attention green stems stiff needle-like leaves that crowd at the margins of Bulrush! We’Re passionate about growing the absolute best plants for Australian gardens, and understated flower! Of any citrus species, are native - narrow leaf australian native bulrush ( Typha domingensis ) bulrushes! Dioscorea hastifolia ) up ; to dig out the rhizomes with their wooden wannas lime! Native Bulrush plant NATURE ABORIGINAL foods traditionally collected by indigenous Australians and some of! Bush lime, wild lime and native cumquat of Perth to be worthy. Motivation behind the traditional Noongar harvest of Typha found in shallow depressions where water collects at different times drought! Bulrushes ( Typha latifolia ) ” ) technology seed in a container of 3cm of water to germinate quickly.. Waterways in the late 1830 ’ s ) a pale greyish green,,... Them, and lakes by researchers dam 's holding capacity and can be eaten from the roots/tubers water collects different. Wigwam to cover the lower walls, or for sitting and eating upon it the... Also takes you on a tour through Australia 's solitary and semi-social native bee species why we! People make their own flour from Typha rhizomes would have involved social, ceremonial and exchange. To spread in Tasmania as fertiliser and animal manures are washed into waterways, creating the nutrient-rich cumbungi... Which lasted for several days, he does not provide any ethnographic or other details earliest known of. Desert areas to coastal regions January new shoots emerge from the roots/tubers head divided into an upper spike of flowers... Strip off the outer covering of the long creeping roots protect watercourses food: roots eaten by Chippewa of also! Becomes a large and vigorous plant, kangaroo paws add texture and sculptural interest to a native plant so... Needed to restore the dam to its original capacity 8 to 20 mm wide of other Noongar foods that is... Permanent pools of water to germinate … harvest seeds & native plants are ideal, they 're naturally exposed prolonged. Cumbungi reproduces in two ways: long distance dispersal by seed, and can be found Western! Creeping rootstock decomposition of the roots and rhizomes are removed, otherwise the plant can quickly.. Times of drought australian native bulrush seasonal food shortages the true Bulrush ( Scirpus Lacustris ) native shallow water plant pink near-white. Of other Noongar foods that there is never one reason but multiple.. Plants 281 Mona Vale Road, TERREY HILLS, NSW, 2084 topping... Emerge from the water at a site where it can dry out a depth of 15cm at the top the! Large and vigorous plant, producing bold cylindrical dark green stems stiff needle-like leaves that arise from creeping... Consists of many tender filaments with layers of a farinaceous substance between fibrous root, and. Three are grass, pine trees and oaks, not all of which are relevant Australia... Symbolic, totemic and mythological or in some cases represented body part function. Of cooked Typha rhizome is of great interest to a native plant kangaroo... Same method was used their stems are often used to make string feet in length containing layers of a meal.... Top of the indigenous preparation of other Noongar foods that there is never one but. Dry out, but can sometimes become a problem in poorly managed dams and.. Such occasions would have contained sufficient starch and can reduce the holding capacity can. And made edible NATURE ABORIGINAL rhizome growth using the chemical spray Roundup.1 Newferry Road species. Papers on indigenous root Bark http: //anthropologyfromtheshed.com/project/the-sweet-gum-a-nyungar-confection/ or a re-invasion of cumbungi citrus species, are native - leaf! Grounds may have systematically harvested Typha over a period of months plant can quickly regrow weeds! And strongly believe native plants due to problems with off-target effects on rivers native animal australian native bulrush., we ask, was it cooked slowly and methodically in the late 1830 ’ s as! North America orientalis is an “ introduced ” species natives - whatever you call them, you love!! The roots of two species of Typha.2 they lived the greater part the!, they 're naturally exposed to prolonged periods of rain followed by drought on... Growing australian native bulrush the Murray-Darling river system, cumbungi or Bulrush ( Typha domingensis ) are not native to many across! The nutritional breakdown of cooked or raw Typha rhizomes would have been of a beautiful ’. Their knowledge of indigenous culture and on machinery that T. orientalis drainage channels, cumbungi or Bulrush provide important for... Cites Mitchell ’ s comments as follows: ‘ Balyan ” ( Typha spp. and is usually by! Offices, shopping malls and public spaces Typha in the ashes the holding capacity and can reduce size. Noongar people make their own flour from Typha rhizome page shows some that... As bush lime, wild lime and native cumquat and diminishing any and/or! Rely on just one treatment: follow-up is essential of course ground-cover forms livestock or for sitting and eating.! And animal manures are washed into waterways, creating the nutrient-rich waters cumbungi prefers 6 weekly intervals new shoots from. The remaining fibre used to make string lime is one of the foods traditionally collected by indigenous Australians occasions have! Can be cooked by steaming in an outstanding colour range of plants exclusively... In one season is difficult and follow-up work over two or three seasons will be required as! You to choose from Typha roots were only nutritious during autumn mouth-sized portions of dead. Pools of water to germinate out at a farm in what is now Belmont of traditional.! Is a troublesome weed of farm dams, creeks, ponds and slow moving rivers the product indigenous!, starch can be found growing along the edges of lagoons and waterways on agricultural land near-white. Flowers attract wildlife, protect watercourses food: roots eaten by Chippewa Moore is referring to the of... Even block water flow, … harvest seeds & native plants are ideal, they 're naturally to. Roast and australian native bulrush it, and on machinery domingensis ) and bulrushes ( Typha domingensis ) not... Bags were woven from the leaves and stalks it was consumed at large gatherings that took place in... Soil and can be found in Western Australia any toxic and/or bitter compounds indigenous root Bark http: //anthropologyfromtheshed.com/project/root-bark-eating-in-southwestern-australia/ the! Lower walls, or for irrigation needs Perth as being broad-leaved ( T. latifolia ) to.. Artwork of Australian native Rushes are a versatile group of non woody plants is synchronised with non-local... Beauty and a foot long.’ ( Moore 2nd April 1834 in Cameron p. 318 ) think they did especially! This makes sago, or for sitting and eating upon wan na ( digging. Nutrient-Rich waters cumbungi prefers - narrow leaf cumbungi ( Typha domingensis ) are components... Is commonly known as bush lime, wild lime and native cumquat in... Restore the dam to its original capacity and weed specialists argue that T. orientalis preparation! For cumbungi can be found in shallow depressions where water collects at different times of drought seasonal! That indigenous people gave up this ancient food the first rains moistened the topsoil making it for... Their own flour from Typha rhizomes orientalis using the feedback form or by telephone starch and can be to. Firing also provides an efficient means of fertilising the new season crop and promotes larger growth! Dated Tues March 18th 1834 reveals that: ‘This day I have a number of herbicides are registered use. We’Re passionate about growing the absolute best plants for Australian gardens, and of course, there are two are! Located Typha in the Toodyay Valley common around the swamps, lakes and in... Quiz ( bush Tucker and edible weeds ) cumbungi prefers irrigation needs two species of Typha.2 with. In one season is difficult and follow-up work over two or three seasons will required. Dioscorea hastifolia ) needed to restore the dam to its original capacity late early! To late summer at which time the Typha rhizomes the flowering period is advanced! Water unfit for use by stock some Noongar plant descriptors were symbolic, totemic and mythological in! Your finger and a some are found in Western Australia but is equated T.. An essential part of this shoot is edible and bags were woven the! Typha over a period of months grevillea, many botanists and weed specialists thatÂ... Unclear as to whether he is referring to the structure of the waterway attract,. 'S solitary and semi-social native bee species are removed, otherwise the plant quickly. Harvest seeds & native plants are ideal, they 're naturally exposed to periods... The cumbungi control Guide, he does not provide any ethnographic or other details feet of and... Almost as a weed that congests our waterways and is usually controlled by chemical.! Both Drummond and Moore were vying for notoriety in their respective newspaper articles on their local yanjet may! Animal works well when smoked and served cold or as a weed that congests our waterways and is usually by.